Student Handbook: Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Policy

Relevant excerpt

C. Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that has the effect of creating a hostile or stressful living, learning, or working environment, or whenever toleration of such conduct or rejection of it is the basis for an academic or employment decision affecting an individual. Conduct is considered “unwelcome” if the person did not request or invite it and considered the conduct to be undesirable or offensive. Sexual harassment includes any conduct or incident that is sufficiently serious that it is likely to limit or deny a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs or a faculty or staff member’s ability to work, which may include a single incident of sexual assault or other serious sexual misconduct.

The following non-exhaustive list includes examples of behavior that could be considered sexual harassment:

Unwelcome sexual innuendo, propositions, sexual attention, or suggestive comments and gestures.
Unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature, such as touching, hugging, kissing, patting, or pinching, that is uninvited and unwanted or unwelcome by the other person.
Humor and jokes about sex or gender-specific traits; sexual slurs or derogatory language directed at another person’s sexuality or gender.
Insults and threats based on sex or gender; and other oral, written, or electronic communications of a sexual nature that a person communicates and that are unwelcome.
Written graffiti or the display or distribution of sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials; sexually charged name-calling; sexual rumors or ratings of sexual activity/performance; the circulation, display, or creation of e-mails or Web sites of a sexual nature.
Non-academic display or circulation of written materials or pictures degrading to a person(s) or gender group.
Unwelcome attention, such as repeated inappropriate flirting, inappropriate or repetitive compliments about clothing or physical attributes, staring, or making sexually oriented gestures.
Change of academic or employment responsibilities (increase in difficulty or decrease of responsibility) based on sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.
Use of a position of power or authority to: (i) threaten or punish, either directly or by implication, for refusing to tolerate harassment, for refusing to submit to sexual activity, or for reporting harassment; or (ii) promise rewards in return for sexual favors.
Acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping.

It is unlawful to harass a person (an employee or student) because of the individual’s gender. Harassment can include offensive remarks about a person’s gender. Both complainant and the respondent can be either a woman or a man, and the complainant and respondent can be the same gender. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive living, classroom, social, dining, recreational, and/or work environment. The respondent can be a student and/or employee affiliated with the University or someone who is not associated with the University. Gender-based harassment includes harassment based on actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature, when the conditions outlined below are present. … Such conduct creates a hostile environment. A hostile environment exists when the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives an individual from participating in or benefiting from the University’s education or employment programs and/or activities. Conduct must be deemed severe, persistent, or pervasive from both a subjective and an objective perspective. In evaluating whether a hostile environment exists, the University will consider the totality of known circumstances, including the nature, frequency, intensity, location, context, and duration of the behavior.

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